Tuesday, August 25, 2009

We're here!

We're here. I've tried to write for the last couple days but have been so muddled that I couldn't find words to describe the magnitude of the things I was feeling. Even now I feel ill equipped. I feel like I've entered the the Twilight Zone (insert theme music here).

The last month has been a glorious long holiday full of fun, family and friends. We loved Calgary with the Brandts, Tsawwassen with the grandparents (my dad and stepmom) and Victoria with Auntie Janette and Cousin Brody. We made wonderful new friends in Clint (my sisters beau) and his boys Douglas and Easton - an absolute hoot! And we visited with timeless friends Karen (KP) and the de Lestards and Becky and her family. Amazing people all and I could write endlessly about how each one has impacted me either recently or in our pasts. I'm reminded again that my greatest riches have always been found in friends and family.

But now the next part of our story has begun as well as the out of body feelings! I arrived in Whitehorse, Yukon on Wednesday the 19th after 4 days of travelling with my mom and the kids. Ken left on the 15th to get to Whitehorse in time to be a part of an orientation that he had to attend as a new teacher to the Yukon and my mom (bless her crazy heart!) graciously agreed to help me drive the Symanski clan north. We made it in spite of the moose that tried to play chicken with our car! By the time I got here I was played out from the driving, the kids fighting, the driving, the kids whining, the driving, the kids breathing. I think the first couple days here, actually I know, my mom thought I was going to crack up on her. But then she seems to think I live fairly close to the edge of insanity all the time...

Ultimately I think the glazed over look in my eye and the nervous twitching (okay, no nervous twitching, just a glum, long face as if my favorite dark roast coffee had just spilled with no hope for more) was because I was starting to wrestle with the reality of this crazy ride we're on as a family. For those of you who know me, you know that I am a woman of grandiose ideas and pitiful follow through. How on earth did our little thought of "wouldn't it be neat to spend a year in the Yukon some time?" actually come to be?!? I'm flabbergasted, overwhelmed, terrified, excited, stunned and 'wowed' that it's really happening! Can we really pull this off and maintain our fragile grip on sanity? Thankfully my family was wonderful as I stumbled through those first few days here and I eventually came to my senses. (As much as is possible for me!) Now I feel flabbergasted, overwhelmed, terrified, excited, stunned and 'wowed' as well as at peace. Whew.

Now the good part... we took a drive out to Haines Junction where we'll be living this next year. It's just what I needed. And even though it was a dreary overcast day, I loved it! What a wonderful place to spend a year. We met a few people and they didn't point at me and laugh because I have adult onset acne (what a drag!), they just seemed like genuine town folk who could have a good laugh. And I have to be honest that both Ken and I perked up even more when we visited the little local bakery. Me, because they serve a great Americano coffee and Ken because they have wireless. More first impressions? I didn't get to see the mountain peaks with the cloud cover but it is still a very lovely place. Lots of new and old mixed together, the run down places as well as the prettied up places of every small town. It's quite spread out but everything is still in walking distance. The school is very nice and proof that the government here pours a lot of money into the outlying communities. (Something Ken learned from the folks he met in the orientation he was at.) The kids were thrilled with the play structure and the gym (it's full size as it is a K to 12 school). The boys were convinced that they would never find their way around and Brenna seemed quiet as she took it all in. They're all doing remarkably considering all the new things being thrown at them. We'll be staying in Whitehorse for another week and then we'll head out to Haines Junction to start life there. We have my parents very comfortable R.V. until we get into our place on the 1st of Sept. School starts on Aug. 31 so it should be fun getting everyone off to school from a R.V.!

Today we're having church together for the first time since we left Winnipeg. Although there has been many "God moments" along the way, the kids are excited about having church here at Grandma's and Grandpa's. When I suggested it to the kids last night they dove right in suggesting all the things they wanted to do. Jay wants to provide the singing, Brenna and Will want to lead a lesson. It seems that after three years of being in a home church they really get the fact that it is a joint endeavour and everyone has something to contribute. It's neat to see.

It's time for me to wrap this up... I have more to say but I'll save it for another post. I've got to get better at finishing posts - with our busy days it's been difficult to sit down to write and I don't like dragging them out.

Thank you. For your nearness in the midst of change. I love you.

until next time,

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Last night while falling asleep I was pondering this blog and trying to figure out how vulnerable I'm willing to be this next year. Ken's worried that I'm too thoughtful and that it'll made him look dumb. Hardly.

If I want this blog to reflect this year accurately I know that the internal journey is just as important as this external one that we're on. But to reveal the places my thinking goes, the struggles, the victories (but especially the struggles) is scary! I'm conscious that once posted, an entry is out there and I can't really take it back and you all suddenly have more power in my life. (Not that any of you will use it for harm!)

However frightening, there's also a part of me that loves honesty, loves vulnerablity, loves a true story. Because ultimately as we tell our story in all it's colours it gives others freedom to tell their stories in all it's colours and true community is born. Not community built on what we think we "ought" to be but built on who we really are in the here and now. The past, present and future us rolled up in an excuisite, beautiful, messy knot.

The stage is set and the story begins...

This journey has partially been born out of a restlessness in me this last winter. As Ken and I explored the possibilities of going elsewhere for a year things quickly fell into place and started to ressemble a "holy set up" and that we'd in fact stumbled into something that was in God's heart for us. Stumbled is a good word I think because I rarely feel very spiritual, I'm not some great woman of prayer, and the Bible (although an amazing book) hasn't been a part of my daily life for a while. (I wish it was).

Now here we are only 14 or so days from arriving in Yukon to start our "year of living adventurously" and I am excited, anxious, and nervous. What if we were wrong? What if this was just me wanting to add crisis to my life and not a"holy set up"? I wonder if this is just a premature midlife crisis and instead of God saying "GO!", I've missed Him saying, "NO!".

Why the self/God doubt? I think for too long I've looked to people who I perceive as spiritual to get my direction from. My fault, not theirs. And really, although we've had all kinds of positive feedback from people we love and respect about this trek, this has been a decision Ken and I have made on our own. I think I'm in a long season of learning to trust in my friendship with God and that ultimately I can trust Him to direct us not because of our great spirituality but because of His great love for us. I find that very comforting and freeing. Comforting because HE's the net under the tight rope we're walking, and freeing because HEY! We're walking on a tightrope! We can take risks and if we fall He is there. Plop, plop, fizz, fizz oh what a relief it is!

Now that the God and me anxiety issue is settled, what about the other things I'm nervous about? What about the fact that I'm going back to live by my Mom and step Dad and a couple of my sisters (and their families) for the first time in 20 years? Will our relationships grow stronger or does absence really make the heart grow fonder? What if we all drive each other crazy? I doubt it, but what if? And how about living in a town of 800 people? How do you do that? I have to admit I like my anonymity. But being the new people in town won't afford me much of that! And here's another tangled knot I have to work at undoing - I'm FAT! All of you who know me love me anyway but what about the new people I'm about to meet? Will they see that my weight is not the sum total of who I am? And frankly I'm tired of having to "tap dance" to impress people with my personality because I'm afraid they can't see past the weight issue. (That's a whole other blog entry!)

There, how's that for honesty? But at the end of the day although these things nag at me they aren't stopping me from moving forward. If I spend too much time dwelling on the things that scare the hell out of me I lose the ability to enjoy the moments we're having right now. And besides, with three kids (ages 6-10), and a husband (forever young!) I'm too busy helping the kids with their anxieties and parenting with Ken to spend much time on my worries. In a post coming up I'll let you know how the kids are doing with all of this (although our Will has done a better job than either of us could telling you how he feels!). It's been interesting to see how they are handling all the change.


Thank you that I can throw all my anxieties at you and you can take it. Thank you that you throw peace my way. I can take that! I love you.

until next time...


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Here I am with little time on my hands and not a clever or insightful thought in my head. I've been looking forward to having this blog as a place to record what we've been doing as a family and a place for me to process what happens this next year but I can see it's going to take me a while to get into the swing of it.

We're in Victoria now. One of my all time favorite places to be. My sister Janette has lived here for a long time and is kindly having us at her place. She is a gracious hostess and just a hoot to be with. Although my younger sister, I look up to her in all kinds of ways - she inspires me to embrace beauty, invest in friendships, and believe in the best. I'm richer having spent time with her.

Being in Tsawwassen with my Dad and step Mom was brilliant. We beachcombed lots, went swimming a couple times (my kids passion), visited Great Grandma (99 years and a beauty!), went to Fort Langley where I lived as a kid and visited with dear friends, Charles and Phyllis MacBeth. We had numerous nerf gun fights - my entire family gangs up on me! And we survived the heat wave they were having without air conditioning.

My Dad is a piece of work. He outdoes himself as a grandpa. You can see him absorb his grandchildren as if his life depended on it. It strikes a deep cord in me when I watch him with my kids. I feel very grateful for who he is and what he brings into our lives. If people want to get a good idea who I am, you need to meet him. He has a big hearty laugh and loves to entertain people. He's also more sensitive than people realize although he can take a lot of ribbing too. He and Ken are simply hilarious together and they obviously really enjoy one another. Seriously I know my dad loves me but if he had to make a choice between keeping Ken or I, Ken may just win!

And my Dad is THE BEST COOK! He absolutely spoiled us with his cooking while were there! There is something magical about the way he puts a dinner together. Eating out is offensive to him and I know why. Nothing compares to a meal made by my dad. Healthy, hearty and mouth watering. You all can't imagine.

And my step Mom. Capitalized Mom, because I hate the connotations of the word "step mom". Too many stories have an evil one. And that couldn't be farther than the truth with mine. She is an amazing lady. She is always warm and generous. There are all kinds of things about her that I love. Like no one sets a prettier table than she does. Every meal is a celebration. She loves to gather people around a meal and it's always beautiful. She also has routines that I find very settling. Each night an hour or so after supper tea was put on and enjoyed together (as together as possible with our rambunctious kids!). Every evening before bed the table is set for morning.

I love the way she enjoys the natural world around her! She sees the humming birds in the tree by their deck, she knows where to look for ocean creatures, she loves to help us see the beauty of the world around us. She was an environmentalist before I'd ever heard the word. But most of all I so appreciate how she has embraced my sister and I and our children and we know she loves us deeply and sweetly.

Now we're here in Vic having arrived just before the August long weekend. Janette and her beau (Clint) are away this weekend at a previously planned event so we're at her place on our own until Monday afternoon. We've been gone two weeks now so having some time to ourselves comes at good time. Just around the corner is Commonwealth Place, a great facility that houses a fantastic pool (wave pool, lazy river, etc.) as well as a library so the kids and Ken are at the pool and then the library - giving me some "Dianna" time. I had a glorious nap and time to blog. Tomorrow I'll take the kids a give Ken some time to himself. We both do better with the kids having had some time to ourselves.


I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for the people in my life. The people I've been able to see this last little while, the people I will be seeing and for people back home in Winnipeg. Thank you for richness of relationship with you and with others. You are good.

until next time,